Unprecedented security measures will apply during the National Day parades on March 25th 2012 out of fear for the outbreak of protests and riots. Some 7,000 policemen will safeguard the politicians who will attend the military parade in Athens. Security measures are planned also for March 24th 2012, when the schools parade will take place.
Greek media reported that according to Greek police plans, opposite of the VIP tribune, in front of the Monument of Unknown Soldier and the Greek Parliament, only accredited journalists will be allowed to stand. Syntagma Square will be cordoned and empty from people. Spectators will have to gather in other parts of downtown to watch the parade!
Policemen will check whether citizens’bags carry suspicious material like eggs, yogurt and tomatoes. “Apparently socially motivated protesters” will be preventently detained if they carry such kind of “ammunition”.
Policemen will be placed all across the parade course. Also riot police squads armed with tear gas, batons and stun grenades will be places in several areas to ‘fight’ against any troublemaker.
This morning I heard in private Skai TV that the police has also a plan to help politicians escape should things get out of control.
A further victim of the parade preparations are the bitter oranges growing wild on the streets of Athens. Bitter oranges are a protesters’ favorite and cheap “ammunition” during clashes against the police. Municipality units have zealously taken down all the oranges to avoid them being used during the parade.
Many municipalities consider to cancel this year’s parades out of fear of protests.
For the first time, disabled veterans from the WWII, the civil war and Cyprus war victims will not participate at the parades “in order to protest the austerity measures of the government, measures that impoverish the people” as their Association said in a statement.
PS National Day parades under riot police guards? These are not preparations for parades to commemorate Greece’s Independence from the Turkish Occupation. These seem to me like war preparations….